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    Judy Tossell Interview

    By Ron Holloway | July 4, 2008

    Egoli Tossell Film is an independent production and financing company with addresses in Berlin, Halle, Leipzig and Potsdam-Babelsberg. Founded in 2001, following the merger of their respective companies Egoli Films and Tossell Pictures, ETF is headed by producers Jens Meurer and Judy Tossell.

    Is Hilde, your biopic about the legendary Hildegard Knef, based on a published biography?

    Yes, our main source for Hilde is her own bestselling autobiography, Der geschenkte Gaul (The Gift Horse), published in 1970. A classic of German postwar literature. The English version had an introduction by Henry Miller.

    Why did you decide on Kai Wessel to direct Hilde and Heike Makatsch to play Hildegard Knef?

    Coming straight from his hugely successful historical drama Die Flucht (March of Millions), Kai Wessel isn’t daunted by big drama and manages to coax really subtle performances from his actors. We have a fabulous cast: alongside Heike, we have Christian Berkel, Michael Gwisdek, and Monica Bleibtreu. Actually, it was Heike’s idea and I think everyone agrees that she is perfect casting. And she is a great singer! Heike is recording Hildegard Knef’s songs for the film. Everyone – certainly in Germany – has heard of Hildegard Knef. Now she is going to be discovered by a whole new generation of fans.

    Will Hilde cover Hildegard’s Knef’s career in the United States as well as in postwar Germany?

    I don’t want to give too much away. But, yes, there will be some Hollywood glamour in there.

    Why are you shooting Sandra Nettelback’s Helen, starring Ashley Judd and Goran Visnjic, in Vancouver? Will the film be shot in English?

    Sandra’s film is set somewhere in North America. We structured the production as a German-Canadian coproduction and chose Canada mainly for financial and relationship reasons. Vancouver is a great location – with very professional crews, and we had very good partners. The film was shot in English and is in postproduction in Germany. We will be premiering this autumn.

    What is the theme of the drama?

    Helen is a gut-wrenching family drama and love story which deals with the D-word – depression – one of society’s most common diseases, but still a tabu subject.

    Thank you for the interview, and good luck with Hilde and Helen. – Editors

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